(L-R) Carlo Thelen, Director General of the Chamber of Commerce; His Highness the Hereditary Grand Duke; Franz Fayot, Minister of the Economy; Credit: @dougnicholsonimages

On Tuesday 21 June 2022, the first day of Luxembourg's economic mission to Canada, chaired by His Royal Highness the Hereditary Grand Duke, and led by Luxembourg's Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot, accompanied by the Director General of the Chamber of Commerce, Carlo Thelen, took place in Toronto, the capital of Ontario, a province located in central-eastern Canada, bordering the Great Lakes and the United States.

At the start of the day, the delegation attended the “Luxembourg-Ontario” economic forum, which aimed to strengthen economic ties and in particular collaboration between Ontario and Luxembourg companies. In the presence of Maud Murray, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Hereditary Grand Duke and Minister Fayot addressed the audience made up of entrepreneurs interested in new collaborations and the access to new markets. During his speech, Hereditary Grand Duke recalled the historic relations between Luxembourg and Canada, which welcomed the Grand Ducal family during the Second World War: "Relying on this relationship of trust, we are partners in an increasingly complex world. Business partners, allies in the event of war, we share the same values ​​of democracy, inclusive societies and our two countries are strongly committed to stimulating innovation and business dynamism.”

Minister Fayot said: “Luxembourg is the ideal gateway to the European market, for innovative start-ups as well as for established companies wishing to develop their activities. In order to strengthen the visibility of our ecosystem for young innovative companies, the StartupLuxembourg initiative has been launched to represent all the players in the ecosystem and give them better visibility, such as on our joint stand with the Chamber of Commerce at the 'Collision' from Toronto.”

The Chamber of Commerce's "Markets" coordinator for international affairs, Sabrina Aksil, presented the Luxembourg economy and its sectors to an audience of Ontarians, while the members of the Luxembourg economic delegation were able to attend a presentation of the Ontario economy. The economic forum concluded with group sessions dedicated to the topics of cybersecurity and data economy, health technologies as well as financial technologies (Fintech).

In her presentation of the Luxembourg economy, Ms Aksil explained: “We are convinced that cooperation, an open mind and the development of strong partnerships between countries and between companies are essential to the success of our national economies. This is especially true today, in a post-COVID era and in a world where markets are increasingly interconnected and competitive. Canada has been identified as a priority partner country for Luxembourg. We have worked very hard over the past few years to strengthen our relationships with the Canadian business community. The number of participants in today's forum speaks volumes about the interest in strengthening mutual exchanges."

At the end of the economic forum, Hereditary Grand Duke and Minister Fayot had a meeting with the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, representative of Her Majesty the Queen of England Elizabeth II in Ontario. After a joint lunch, they were also able to visit the building of the Legislative Assembly of this province.

During the afternoon, Hereditary Grand Duke and Minister Fayot visited the premises of the DMZ business incubator where an event dedicated to startups was organised. The official visit to Canada is indeed an opportunity to highlight the commitment of Luxembourg and Canada to create environments favorable to the growth and expansion of young innovative companies as well as to show the possible collaborations between the two countries. This is to encourage startup creators to consider international expansion. Three Luxembourg startups, A352, Passbolt and No Big Deal had the opportunity to present themselves during this event introduced by speeches by the Hereditary Grand Duke and the Minister of the Economy.

This first day ended with a networking reception which was organised in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce in order to offer business representatives from the Luxembourg economic delegation the opportunity to interact with 100 business representatives from Ontario. During the reception, the Hereditary Grand Duke, Minister Fayot and Director Thelen, briefly addressed the guests in order to underline the objectives of the mission and the desire to strengthen the economic ties between Canada and Luxembourg.